New research confirms the gender pay gap has remained static for a decade now at 12 per cent and shows that bias and perceptions about women in the workplace are what’s driving inequality in men’s and women’s pay.

Traditionally, factors such as the type of work women have carried out, their education levels and age, have driven the gender pay gap, but research undertaken by Auckland University of Technology for the Ministry for Women, shows that traditional factors only account for about 20 per cent of the gap.

The rest is “unexplained”, which is likely to be perception about behaviour, attitudes, and assumptions about women in work, including bias- both conscious and unconscious.

Minister for Women, Paula Bennett says she knows that employers don’t set out to create a pay gap.

“They want to treat staff fairly. It would be great to see employers to look at doing a gender pay audit. I’d also encourage them to look at whether women are being promoted into positions they deserve, implementing solutions including rigorous recruitment processes, and clear career progression criteria,” says Bennett.

“The Government is leading work to reduce the gender pay gap in the public sector. In November the Government agreed to accept the recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity, Government also publishes Gender Pay Gap data by department. Through our actions we aim to encourage employers to address the issue in the private sector.”

The Government is also negotiating with unions and aged care providers over pay rates for caregivers. Negotiations are likely to see an increase in caregivers’ pay. However the Aged Care Association is insistent that any increase needs to be accompanied by a funding increase for providers.

The full gender pay gap research is available on the Ministry for Women’s website at http://www.women.govt.nz

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